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The Art of High-Ticket Selling
Do you run a business that sells high-ticket items? To get customers to part with their a significant portion of their hard-earned money, you need to be aware that customers in this pricing tier require a different approach than “normal” consumers. Because margins are different and the target audience has different demands than higher-volume sales, you need to be aware that there’s an art to ensuring that customers are handled properly down the sales funnel.
In this article, we’ll cover some aspects of high-ticket selling that you may or may not be aware of.
Slow and steady wins the race—and the wallets, hearts, and minds of your customers. The truth is that you need to build trust and rapport for someone to spend $1,000 on an item, and this takes time. This rapport needs to be genuine—after all, think of the bad reputations that used-car salesmen and real estate agents get for glossing over details to win a quick sale. A fake persona can lead to less sales in the long-run, especially because word-of-mouth is a powerful force for exponentiating your profits.
The key is to practice patience. You need to understand how customers come to you and have their “pain points” resolved, establishing yourself as a quasi-authority figure in their mind. But if you rush the decision-making, you’ll ultimately stymie your efforts in ways that aren’t always apparent. Instead, try to figure out the pace of the customer’s inquiries. Typically, if they’re just browsing, you can offer help when they ask for it. If they’re actively inquiring about the item (i.e. usage, durability), you can offer the customer your input. And if they’re ready to buy, you can match this pacing and complete the sale to satiate their desires.
Play the Long Game
Don’t expect your customers to being willing to purchase your item during the first exposure to your products. After all, those who have enough expendable cash tend to be expert savers and shrewd in their business affairs.
Therefore, you’ll want to play “the long game” (as we mentioned in “Practice Patience”), but there is a question of how long should you stay engaged with customers. The answer is “as long as they’re interested.” Remaining “top of mind” with a strong brand-awareness can be the way to entice them and keep them interested, using such efforts as email campaigns, frequent social media engagement, outbound mailers, a high-ranking SEO-optimized website—the list goes on. Remember that customers may have your high-ticket item on their wish-list and may be waiting for the timing to be right to purchase (i.e. tax refunds, windfalls, promotions in the workplace, higher income, special events, etc.).
Understand Your High-Ticket Target Markets
Let’s be honest: those who can afford high-ticket items often have much in common with others who do too. These correlations of behavior can help you think of what’s referred to as account based marketing, where you narrow the focus of whom you offer services versus “spray and pray” methods.
That being said, you should be aware of the demographics of your target, as well as the attitudes and preferences that these demographics encompass.
For instance, a glossy website can be off-putting for those who deal in vintage Model-A replacement parts, as there’s an inherent nostalgia in antique cars and how it differs from modern methods of sales. Conversely, a ‘hokey’ website can put off those who are interested in customized aftermarket parts for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
However, it becomes a little complicated when there are different target markets after your high-ticket items. Do you appeal to each? Or, do you create a lowest-common denominator approach? The answer isn’t always easy, but you surmise that the lowest-common denominator approach can boil down a base-line of marketing approaches. From there, you can either pick the most profitable target market, divide your efforts, or try to encompass as many demographics as possible. But, there is no easy answer.
Know Your Business
Because high-ticket items cost more money, the expectations of those who are deciding on whether to make a purchase or not are naturally higher. Any sign that you don’t know every aspect of what you’re selling can lead to doubt. After all, you are the de facto expert and it is your job as a salesperson to convince customers that you can handle their concerns before and after the purchase has been made.
Of course, it is impossible to know every detail about a product, but there should be a willingness to find the information AND have a base level of expertise that normal consumers don’t have.
Simplicity is key. “If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it well enough.” That’s a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, and it makes sense when selling high-ticket items. You need to give information that doesn’t get hung up on jargon and meaningless statistics. Once simple knowledge is exchanged, then it is appropriate to provide the customer with information, whether these are brochures, case studies, schematics, relevant statistics, your company’s evergreen advertising blogs and so forth.
For instance, suppose you sell kayaks. A customer wants to purchase one, but she wants to know whether it will last in the Arizona heat. Knowing your product, you can answer “yes” in good conscience. However, then the customer asks about the compositional makeup of the plastic, and whether it would create environment effects through leaching. This may seem out of the realm of your expertise, but could you provide her an answer while still making the sale? Of course you could. Best of all, if you did find out the information, this arms you with better information when the next client comes through the door, dials you up, or sends you an email.
Getting Your Customers on the Phone
In lieu of meeting your high-ticket clients in person, the next best thing is keeping in contact over the phone. There’s information communicated subconsciously through someone’s voice that is impossible to fake. When money’s on the line, clients tend to trust their gut and intuition.
When you have an important appointment with a doctor, you’d expect a follow-up call. The same goes for high-ticket items: you want to re-engage potential customers, especially on the phone. For you or your salespeople, the phone is a great way to practice your own vetting policy, where you can discern those who are eager to buy, curious to know more, or simply timewasters who will be problematic in the future.
Have you ever been to a fancy restaurant, only to think you could probably prepare the same food at home with the same ingredients? What was the real “value” of going to the restaurant? You could say it was the time saved on cooking, but take a look around: the cost of the meal keeps out the riff-raff. Similarly, if you had a problem with the meal, would you be hassled over the quality, or would your request be granted with abundant apologies?
The value of high-ticket items isn’t always the item itself; it comes from the exclusivity of those who can afford the product and what values they hold. When selling high-ticket items, you must understand that, on some level, customers feel a sense of entitlement when they part with their hard-earned money. This exclusivity isn’t limited to price-tag, either. For instance, an overpriced item of similar quality to another actually has negative connotations.
If a company doesn’t understand the “right” price, then where else may they be making mistakes? Consider how your customer sets themselves from “other people” and you’ll gain a key understanding of how to sell your high-ticket items.
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